Ask Amy Amy Dickinson, Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.

DEAR AMY: A year ago I started a relationship with "Joe." We were classmates but had not seen each other in 37 years. We fell in love. He says he wants to spend the rest of his life with me when he retires in a few years. We live 1,800 miles apart, but this isn't really the problem. I make him a priority in my life but he does not reciprocate, though he says I'm very important to him. I'm not sure if I am selfish or if he leads a lifestyle of nonattachment. Sometimes it is hours before he will answer a call or a text. At bedtime he will send a text and say, "I'm beat, going to bed, good night. I love you." No call -- just a text. I feel I am not a priority in his life. He tells me that I should be more positive and grateful for the time we do get to spend together on the phone. It's hard enough being in a long-distance relationship; I want live communication! I like to hear his voice or video chat before bed. I tell him I don't think he is into me as much as I am into him. He says that's not true. But the more he knows I miss him or want time with him, the less he gives. I'm so tired of rehashing the same thing and getting nowhere. I don't want to end this, but I don't know how to fix it. Please help me. I need an outside opinion.

Depressed

DEAR DEPRESSED: I'm assuming that you are "correcting" for the time difference in various time zones in your extremely long-distance relationship. It can be very challenging to communicate when you are each at opposite ends of your days.

You don't provide any details about your guy's life before (or outside) of your relationship. Has he been in long-term relationships before? Does he have exes? Children? Is he currently married or romantically involved with others (a very real possibility).

Most of us conduct our relationships in somewhat predictable ways. Unlike the stock market, past performance (in relationships) IS a predictor of future performance.

This man has an aversion to intimacy (either in general, or with you). The possible reasons for this are many and varied.

Regardless of how he behaves, this type of communication is not what YOU want. What you want should be the most important thing to you, and he doesn't get to tell you how to feel about it.

DEAR AMY: "Trying to Decide Well" was concerned that a family gathering to divvy up some personal items prior to an estate sale might turn into an avaricious melee. This brought back old memories. Many years ago, my first wife's bachelor uncle died. After the will was read, we were told that many of his personal items, including some rings, rare coins and several antique gold watches, were on a large table in an adjacent room and that the heirs and their families were free to select items as keepsakes. As soon as the door opened, one nephew and his two sons dashed into the room and grabbed the watches, rings, coins and other valuables, stuffing them into their pockets. We were so appalled and embarrassed by this callous display of greed that we just walked out of the room. Later, when infighting developed between the siblings and a cousin over the rather substantial real property in the estate, my wife legally disinherited herself. My advice to anyone having to administer such a division of property is this: either specify who gets what, or sell it all and divide the proceeds.

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Avid Reader

DEAR READER: "Trying to Decide Well" was attempting to deal with this by offering an "early bird" sale to family members. I think that's a good idea too.

DEAR AMY: "Hurt Daughter" wondered how to respond to her lousy father, who always seemed to let her down. I had a father like that. I decided to forgive him (but not forget his actions). He's gone now, and I'm glad I did.

Been There

DEAR BEEN THERE: Your choice was challenging -- and wise.